Happy Birthday, Daddy!

He would have been 103 today. I have missed him for nearly 25 years. The man who gave me the finest picture of my Heavenly Father. My dad…Andrew John Petersen.

He was the oldest of ten children so nurturing was second nature to him. Memories take me back to a dad who carried me on his shoulders on my daily walk to kindergarten. The man who held my forehead every time I tossed my cookies. The father who drove me all over Chicago to purchase rare supplies for a science fair project. The daddy who let me style his hair as he lay on the floor for a quick nap before work.

He worked shift schedule at US Steel in Chicago. I hated when he left us. It meant Mom and I were alone through the night. Many times he’d walk me through every room of the house opening closet doors just to prove no monsters were hiding there.

The youngest of three, I was like an only child with older siblings already out of the nest. My dad was my hero, my knight in shining armor. I compared every guy I met to him. No one could measure up until the man of my dreams walked into my life, a man much like him. A man dedicated to his family, faithful, loyal, hardworking and willing to sacrifice personal desires for the good of his wife and family. I am a blessed woman to have such strong men as my covering all the years of my life.

Dad was an incredible father who influenced my own passion for family. Everything he was and did was for us. He put our well-being over his own desires. He worked in an unpleasant environment for over 40 years never fulfilling his personal wish to be an FBI agent. I never questioned his love and devotion. He fostered my security. And He helped cement my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ask anyone who knew him and they’d all agree. Andy was the finest of men with a good reputation. He was loved by all. Quiet but witty. Private but a creative storyteller. Meek but a warrior who would have given his life for us. He’s celebrating another birthday in heaven today. But this his first with his eldest daughter who joined him and mom in heaven this past May. She’s lighting the candles on his birthday cake today, a present in herself. I miss her now, too, making heaven an even dearer place.

As believers we don’t sorrow as those who have no hope. I know I will see them all again. What a celebration our family will have around the Throne, never to part again. And with Jesus for all eternity. Until then, happy birthday, Daddy!

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